CCTV systems: are they really worth the price?
With many solutions these days offering pan tilt and zoom functions off the shelves, we have to ask ourselves the inevitable questions, should we choose CCTV systems or should we use wireless pan tilt zoom IP cameras?
Off the shelves IP cameras could cost around $100-200 dollars for entry levels and $200-300 dollars for high end ones. Some of those high end cameras such as Samsung do not provide pan tilt functions for the cost of $249 RRP.
So with Home Security in mind, which cameras are better? And here are some pointers for you to consider before making your purchase.
Recordings are critical to the operation is any security system. This is due to the reason that Home owners are not able to monitor their cameras 24/7 (due to work, you don’t really want to get fired), making the recordings critical when something happens.
For CCTV systems, recordings are present because all the information is stored in a hard disk drive (starting from 1TB) which stores information for at least 7 days.
For off the shelves solution, the hard disk drive is often using cloud (which means your internet uptime must be 100% to have full recordings and it occupies bandwidth from the service provider to upload recordings stored in a location you and i most likely haven’t been to before)
You can always rely on NAS (network access storage) to store the recordings. Typical NAS cost around $200-$300 depending on the size of the hard disk and brand. NAS is always a good option for higher security as it is deployed behind the router (yes all routers including cheap ones have some sort of firewall built it to prevent attacks) and also more reliable as it doesn’t rely on service providers uptime.
2. Wireless or non wireless?
Most home owners today love having wireless systems because there isn’t a need for cabling, saving time and effort cleaning the house. Yes. But we do not live in an era whereby cameras are just like the ones James Bond use to save the world. Instead, all wireless cameras need power to work (yes to feeling dismayed). They are great choices if you prefer mobility, meaning you deploy the cameras near the powerpoints and you are able to alternate locations of the cameras around everyday.
However with that being said, cameras cannot be deployed on the ceiling whereby they are tamper proof (useless someone gets a ladder, unscrews the camera and shift the lens, of which if they can do that, please ask them to apply to us for a job; we need talents like that)
For CCTV systems, they are always deployed on the ceiling and installers would ensure that power is transmitted so that the cameras can only be controlled from one central location.
Another drawback of wireless cameras is their dependence on wireless signals. And only if you have a super good Wi-Fi coverage of your home, your Wi-Fi network is subjected to the dips in receptivity, due to concrete walls (good choice of materials from the story of three little pigs so don’t complain; else you should stay in a straw house without Wi-Fi problems) and also sometimes the size of the house. Hence, cameras can be intermittent in transmission at times giving rise to problems in seeing the cameras 24/7.
So for a decent camera system, the cost of getting 4 moderate cameras with a hard disk (remember why you need it?) would set you back by ($150 x 4 cameras + $250 for NAS) $850. Compared to an installation for $940 for a HD720P system by Homesafe Security it might potentially cost more because you still have some installation work to do.
So with everything in the open, cost is of course a determining factor with reliability and security functions in mind.
So all in all, I think whichever anyone chooses to go with, I think being able to understand the product fully is important in getting the most out of it and committing to it.